Images by Shimahara, courtesy of Omgivning

Submission Deadline

October 5, 2020 (11:59 PM PST)

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Grand Prize: $1,000


What would you do with an old and empty building? Would you tear it down, leave it abandoned, or could you transform it into something new?  Cities all around the world are wrestling with this very challenge. The question then becomes, what can architecture do about it?

At DesignClass we are passionate about responding to the challenges of life through well-considered design.

We don't think good design is exclusive to brand-new buildings, created on empty lots. There are literally millions of buildings around the world, in millions of communities that could be adapted to a new purpose in a beautiful way. 

Think of the opportunities that await cities like Detroit, where entire skyscrapers lie empty, waiting for a visionary person to come along. You could be that visionary. You have the power to impact communities.

This brings us to the Adaptive Reuse Architecture Design Competition.

This is your challenge, reimagine an existing and underutilized building into a beautiful piece of architecture that positively impacts your community. To showcase your design, you'll be creating up to 5 images and a written description explaining your reasoning and process.

Step 1

The first step is to find a building in your community that you'd like to redefine. Remember, this is more than remodeling and swapping out paint colors, the point is to identify a place that can have a second chance at life through your design.

Step 2

Next, think about and analyze what type of design would serve that building. Are you converting an old factory into urban lofts? Are you adapting a derelict church into a beautiful family home? Maybe you're transforming a old mall into a sleek office building? The possibilities are endless.

Step 3

Once you've decided, create an amazing piece of adaptive reuse architecture that showcases your talent and the untapped opportunity in the building you've chosen.

Award Criteria

Your submission will include up to 5 images of your design plus a written description explaining your reasoning and process. It will be rated on the following criteria.

Architectural Design
Innovation 0-15
Community Impact 0-15
Practicality 0-10
Presentation 0-10

Interested in learning more about how judges evaluated designs? Read the full Award Criteria document.

Submission Guidelines 

  • Up to 5 Images of your design, showing any features you wish to highlight. They may be plans, details, renderings, or any other type of graphic. 
  • You must submit at least one image, with a maximum of 5.
  • Written Design Description, fewer than 500 words, in English.


  • No names, logos, or identifying text in the images.
  • Keep text inside the images to a minimum
  • Do not place multiple small views inside an image. One view per image.
  • Images must be exactly 3000 x 3000 pixels (square) 
  • Images must be in jpg format
  • Images must be under 3mb each.

Tip: We will provide templates after you register.


Submission deadline: October 5, 2020 (11:59 PM PST)

Winners announced by: October 29, 2020 (11:59 PM PST)


  • All text must be in English
  • Must be an original work, created by the submitter
  • One design submission per registration
  • You may work as an individual or in a group or team
  • DesignClass reserves the right to suspend the competition and refund entry fees.
  • Participants retain all rights to their submissions.
  • Participants grant DesignClass license to publish submissions online and in print.
  • Open to anyone from anywhere

Open to Everyone

Join today to receive the full brief and resource packet

Want to level up? Get the Bundle

Join the Competition & DesignClass together for $99. ($135 Value)

Join Karin Liljegren and learn how to transform derelict buildings into dynamic parts of the urban fabric and use architecture & policy innovation to impact your environment.

You'll learn about design, creating policy, partnerships, writing strong contracts, hiring the right team, and how to be an influential voice in your community. 

Her lessons are practical and based on over 25 years of working with clients and 450 buildings in the Los Angeles area. Get the gritty details from the city policies she contributed to that helped bring Downtown LA back from the brink.


  • When is the registration & submission deadline?

    The deadline for both is October 5, 2020 (11:59 PM PST)

  • When is the winner announced?

    October 29, 2020 (11:59 PM PST)

  • Can I participate as a team?

    Yes, the competition is open to individuals and teams of all ages and locations. Only one person needs to register on behalf of the team. The names of the team members will be entered into the submission form when you submit your design.

  • What is the maximum size of a team?

    No limit on the number of team members. In our experience, large teams do not have an advantage over a driven individual.

  • What is the entry fee?

    $34.99 for professionals and professional teams. $14.99 for students and student teams. $99.99 if you join the Competition & DesignClass bundle.

  • Can I register with a mixed team of students and professionals?

    Yes, however you must register using the Professional Team option of $34.99

  • Why should I join the Competition & DesignClass bundle?

    In the DesignClass you'll learn from Omgivning Founder, Karin Liljegren about design, policy creation, and the unique challenges of adaptive reuse architecture . All important topics as you consider your competition entry.

  • Will the Competition & DesignClass bundle give me an advantage?

    No, competition judging will not give preferential treatment to bundle purchasers. However, the lessons you learn in the DesignClass may help you create a better competition submission.

  • Will I receive a Certificate?

    Yes, all participants who submit to this competition will receive a completion certificate.

Join this competition and we plant a tree! 
DesignClass is a climate positive company. 

We offset our carbon footprint via Ecologi

Images by Shimahara, courtesy of Omgivning